Wednesday, December 19, 2012

TUTORIAL: Grocery Tote Bag

Sewing Tutorial: Reusable Grocery Tote Bag
(Basic lined tote bag sewing tutorial) 

Who can ever have enough tote bags? Not me! I have tote bags for all sorts of purposes - a beach tote bag, my daughter's dance tote bag, my son's soccer tote bag, pool towel tote bag, and travel tote bags. They are great to have around the house in all sorts of fabrics and sizes.

My friend, Elizabeth, wanted me to make two grocery tote bags for her cousin's Christmas gift. They needed to be sturdy, man-ly in color and fabric and pretty basic. With those requests I headed to the fabric store and bought one yard of duck canvas in a navy blue and one yard of lining. The lining is optional. You can always simply serge or zig-zag stitch your raw edges.

Tote Bag Sewing Tutorial:
*This tutorial will show you how to sew a simple lined tote bag. Since these bags were going to be used to hold groceries, I chose a very sturdy fabric. You could make these out of any fabric such as: cotton, denim, corduroy, seersucker, broadcloth, twill, poplin, duck canvas or even burlap.

1. Gather materials to make TWO Reusable Grocery Tote Bags:

one yard duck canvas or other fabric you would like to use that is 60" wide
one yard lining 60" wide
2 yards nylon straps (or you can make your straps out of the fabric - it is included in the amount needed)
ruler, scissors, pins, fabric marker, sewing machine, thread

2. Cut out FOUR pieces in your duck canvas that are 18 inches long x 23 inches wide

3. Cut out FOUR pieces in your lining fabric that are 18 inches long x 23 inches wide.

4. Cut out FOUR strips in your duck canvas that are 3 inches long x 36 inches wide for the straps.

5. Lay your two main fabric pieces right sides together. Pin around both sides and the bottom. Leave the top edge (the 23 inch wide edge) unpinned.

6. Sew around all three sides. Backstitch. Trim threads.

7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for your lining fabric.

8. **If you are making your straps continue here. If not, skip to step #13: Iron your strap pieces in half with right sides together so they are each 1.5 inches long x 36 inches wide and pin down the long edge.

9. Sew down the long, pinned edge using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Trim threads.

10. Turn each strap rightside out and press with an iron. I do this by pinning a safety pin onto the end of the fabric and pushing it through the fabric tunnel. Pull it out the other end and slide the fabric right side out. Iron well.

11. Use your fingers to turn in the raw, open edges of the straps. Press each end with an iron and pin in place. Repeat for all four straps. Place to the side for now.

12. Sew along your pinned strap edges to close them, using a 1/8 inch seam allowance. Trim threads.

13. Time to make the corners of your bag. Leaving the main fabric right side out, spread out one bottom corner of the bag until it forms a triangle. I do this by putting my fingers into the bag and spreading the fabric out carefully, then pinning.

14. Draw a line four inches away from the corner of your triangle. This gives your triangle a base. Repeat for BOTH CORNERS of your main fabric bags and BOTH CORNES of your lining fabric bags.

15. Sew along your drawn lines. Trim threads. This will give your bags corners. Repeat for all four bags.

16. Place one lining bag and one main fabric bag right sides together. Pin all around the top, raw edge.

17. Sew around the top, pinned edge but STOP SEWING 6 inches before your starting point. Backstitch. Trim threads.

18. Reach into the hole you made and pull the bag right side out. Then, push the lining into the main fabric.

19. Press the top of your bag with an iron to give it a nice, crisp look. Turn in the opened hole that was used for turning right side out, press with an iron and pin.

20. Sew around the entire top of your bag using a 1/8 inch seam allowance. Trim threads.

21. If you are using nylon straps, cut 2 straps that are 36 inches long each. *The length of straps is your personal preference. You can make them shorter or longer.

22. Place straps where they are desired and pin in place.

23. Sew a box at the end of each strap and an X that connects all four corners of this box. This reinforces the ends of your straps to tightly hold them in place.

You're done!! These make great gifts - or you can definitely find something to do with them yourself!

Happy Sewing!
Jenny Hall
Seamingly Smitten

*Shown - The Sadie Grace Nightgown Sewing Pattern for Girls - sizes 6 months - 8 years - PDF sewing patterns for Girls, Boys and Women - instant download - PDF sewing pattern shop
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